Kaymer in three-way tie at the top

European Tour

Two-time major champion Martin Kaymer grabbed a share of the lead after the second round of the Alstom Open de France on Friday.

The German shot a second successive two-under-par 69 to take his total to four under par at the challenging Le Golf National layout in Paris.

That was level with Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello and local favourite Victor Dubuisson, who both shot one-under-par 70s.

As many as five players lie just one shot back in a packed leaderboard – Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton, Daniel Brooks and James Morrison, South African Jaco van Zyl and Italy’s Francesco Molinari.

Also in the mix, just two shots back, are Maximillian Kieffer, Bernd Wiesberger and Felipe Aguilar.

Kaymer is excited about being near the top of a leaderboard again, following a quiet period.

“It’s been a few months since I’ve been in one of the last groups of a tournament,” said the 30-year-old, who won here in 2009. “Obviously I enjoy that golf course and have had success on that golf course.

“The crowds are behind me and playing with Victor the last couple of days was good fun, too. A lot of people were following our group, so I think it’s going to be an exciting weekend.”

Dubuisson said: “On this course, when you start to make one bogey, two bogeys, then you think that it can turn really bad, but I had a great round and I’m very happy about the way I played today. It was really tough out there with the wind this afternoon.

“It’s great support but I’m so focused on my game I don’t really look around; I can feel the support.

“You can’t afford any mistakes. I will have to play again very well tomorrow, and if the putting is good, it can be a good result.”

It was not a good day for Graeme McDowell, whose bid for a third French Open title ended in disappointing fashion as he missed the cut with a seven-over 78.

McDowell was one of 42 players unable to complete their opening rounds on Thursday after thunderstorms resulted in a delay of almost two and a half hours.

He started early in the morning on Friday and completed an opening 72, but then slumped to his worst ever round at the venue.

“I struggled to get in the fairway mainly and, as firm and as fast as this course is, if you’re not hitting the fairway you have a bit of a problem getting close to the flag,” said McDowell.

“It’s just a bad first nine both days. I rescued it coming in last night but it was a fast turnaround from a 9pm finish last night to an early start this morning and I just didn’t come out of the blocks this morning at all.

“It’s very disappointing, this course has been so good to me over the years, just not to be this year. It’s a work in progress, I’ll keep grinding and it’s a big summer ahead.”

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